Cry For Blood


Submitted by Grenville Phillips II, Leader of Solutions Barbados

After World War 2, most people in developed countries smoked cigarettes.  Doctors were irresponsibly promoting this harmful practise, because they smoked.  Offices, entertainment venues and aeroplanes were designed for smokers only.

Despite the mounting evidence that smoking caused lung cancer, nothing was done by policy makers to restrict the use of cigarettes.  However, the evidence could not be ignored forever.

In 1964, the US Surgeon General finally reported that smoking was harmful to smokers.  This led to warning labels being required on cigarette packaging.  In 1969, the US banned cigarette ads on TV and radio.

While the US government was trying to save smokers from themselves, there was no relief for non-smokers until 1971.  That was when airline stewardesses’ complaints resulted in no-smoking sections of some planes.

When booking flights in the 1980s, I would hope that there was space in the limited no-smoking section.  However, I was normally forced to travel in the smoking section, and tolerate the toxic second-hand smoke.

In the 1990s the link between second-hand smoke and lung cancer could no longer be ignored, so there were restrictions for smoking in government buildings.  By the 2000s, these restrictions were upgraded to bans, including on many international flights.

The World Health Organisation finally recognised that tobacco smoke caused death, disease and disability in smokers.  It also accepted that pregnant mothers, who were exposed to tobacco smoke, could cause health and development problems for their children.  So the UN was forced to act.

In 2003, the UN’s World Health Assembly adopted an international treaty, to protect all persons on this planet, including the unborn, from exposure to tobacco smoke.  Barbados signed that treaty in 2004 and ratified it 2005.

Barbados agreed to implement policies to protect all people from tobacco smoke in indoor spaces and other public spaces.  The long battle had been won, but the price was very high.  Approximately half of smokers died from smoking related diseases.


Last week, we decided that our youth must not only learn history from their textbooks.  Instead, we would do a NIFCA play re-enacting some of the worse parts of our history.  We decided to show them how a past set of policy makers, deceived a generation of unsuspecting people, that smoking was not harmful.

The problem is that our policy makers forgot that they were only supposed to be playing the lunatic.   Our parliamentarians seemed to have lost control of their minds.  There was no debate in Parliament, only lawyers trying to present weak closing arguments to themselves.

They passed a bill allowing any group that calls itself Rasta, to receive a permit to grow and smoke marijuana.  They have decided that there will be no checking of who is or is not a Rasta when issuing the permits.  They justified this position by claiming that the Government does not investigate who is or is not a pastor before registering churches.

The lunacy of this argument is glaring.  Pastors are not registering to do anything illegal.  However, the bill allows Rastas to legally do something that is illegal for the rest of us.

To declare that no investigations will be done, means that any group of Barbadians can legally grow and smoke marijuana.  They just have to call themselves a Rastafarian group and get a permit.

This makes the political promise of a referendum before legalising marijuana a farce.  If the Governor General is so controllable, that she would act against the interest of Barbados by proclaiming this into law, then there will be no need for a referendum – the recreational use of marijuana would already be legal.

It is proven that marijuana smoke has the same or higher concentrations of poisons, and that smoke is not healthy for anyone’s lungs or heart, including Rastas.  It does not magically become healthy just because a set of politicians say that it is.

It took about 80 years of struggle, with millions of unnecessary and horrible deaths, before policy makers would act.  Policy makers deemed their lives expendable, as each death was simply added to the rest until the number was statistically important enough to report a strong link.

Now we must now start all over again, just because policy makers want proof that marijuana smoke is more dangerous than tobacco smoke.  We have learnt nothing from the millions who have died from tobacco smoke.  Despite the fact that smoking cigarettes is still the leading cause of preventable death in the US, we are not convinced.

We want to count deaths from marijuana smokers.  Not any marijuana smokers, Barbadian marijuana smokers.  We have now deemed the lives of our Rasta citizens expendable.  We are not trying to protect them from themselves, as we should have done for the smokers of cigarettes.  Instead, we are encouraging them to smoke, deceiving them that it is not harmful – when we know full well that it is.

The obvious solution is to allow users to dilute marijuana to safe concentrations, and drink it as we drink tea.  That does not introduce smoke in the users lungs, and does not harm the health of the users’ neighbours.  The problem with that simple approach is that it does not satisfy the cry for blood.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at


  • Look what is being said about this govt and especially AG Marshall on social media

    This video by Attorney General Dale Marshall that is making the rounds on the internet on the macrabre incident in Andrew this morning, shows the expanding vacuum in leadership in this country…

    Indeed, rather than come across as a reassuring and very involved policy leader on top of a growing national epidemic Marshall did come across as a chatting, smirking social commentator, laidback, and complaining about the need to settle disputes (land, etc) without resort to violence.. having stated in the recording of the video that preliminary investigative information suggests the very horrible incident was over land..

    That the Attorney General failed to touch on this BLP government’s policy on even more startling…That he refused to share statistics on violent crime to, as if it were so, which it clearly is not – emphasize government no-nonsense approach to leading the way as part of a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional national non-partisan approach to helping tackle crime in Barbados is also unfortunate..

    Moreover, that he not only FAILED to express what government is doing to ease the fears and anxieties of many people concerning the growing incidents of criminal violence in our society, but also REFUSED to condemn or criticize the worrying escalating trend of murders taking place in Barbados – a tourism dependent political economy – are the more reprehensible…

    The government’s chief legal advisor needed to send a signal to especially the outside world that in spite of Barbados having a serious crime problem, that this country will not be NOT descending into an outpost of lawlessness, social instability or unrest…under his watch…What a wasting of an opportunity to do so!!

    Finally, it is unforgivable that Marshall came across as out of place and almost detached from the enveloping sense of dread of being made a victim of violent crime that exists amongst many of our people and as simply a government figure who was choreographed into saying and recording something about the incident…


  • Mia better start planting them trees to hide she face
    The 1920 masscre committed on barbados soil on the 53rd day of Barbados independence would be remember as Bloody Saturday
    Social media is awashed with comments of digust pointing fingers at this govt
    When i made talked of leadership the blp foot soldiers sharpen their knives and came after me
    However before the ink was dried and the knives laid aside barbados recorded three more murders
    Where their is no vision the people perish


  • David somebody needs to pull u aside and thoroughly explain the negative effects of crime and violence in a society and its effect on the economy and its social enviroment
    Those are hard areas to tackle when crime and violence takes a foot hold and word spread like wild fire that a country record of crime and violence is out of control
    Leadership in times of crisis is mostly important in sending messages to the populace which are reassuring with an all out attempt to be forceful with show of action


  • All yall politicians are useless, nothing new.


  • Redguard,

    I see you have missed my point. I am speaking not speaking about efficiency. What ails us is much deeper than that. The fix must therefore be deeper.

    What you guys are speaking of is status quo maintenance.


  • The dirty, lying, hypocrite government, no one is putting up with yall anymore, get it through ya wicked, greedy skulls…..this is the tipping point.


  • @ WARU

    Excellent VIDEO…




  • WoW fire pon babylon
    I wunda wuh mia have to say now


  • Baje…they only think they “got this”.


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